My "No Show" November

Saturday, December 20, 2014
I hadn't missed an entire month since June 2013 and only done so twice in the 41-month run of this blog

Near the end of a productive year (51 posts in 10 months), it appears that I have done something I've only done once before in the history of my blog--I missed an entire month! A span of 38 days went by where I did not post any items to this website and that would be considered a "drought" instead of the few "hiatuses" I took while doing my journalism certificate program. A little bit of background information will help explain the rationale for my absence.

Back in July, I started an 8-part series about my "journo-less" summer where I mentioned that I was unemployed at that time. Unfortunately, that situation remains in effect and it seemed to come to a head in October when yet another delay was going to push any job hopes off until early in 2015 (at the earliest). Once my state jobless benefits ended in early August, I've been on my own and things have become more critical on the financial front as the months have gone by. With the day-to-day anxieties weighing heavily on me, I did what any 50-something might do--I ran away from home (with my wife's permission) and took a credit card-funded "road trip" to get me away from my problems for just a little while.

A/V: 50 Years On From a Memorable Dayton Visit

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Elizabeth Roth Turner, left, and Ted Clark, right, attendees at the November 1964 speech given by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the University of Dayton Fieldhouse, were in the audience at the Kennedy Union ballroom reflection event on Tuesday afternoon.

On an overcast December afternoon, over 70 people attended an event to commemorate one held on a snowy November night 50 years ago last Saturday involving the appearance of an American civil rights icon in the city of Dayton. The University of Dayton's Office of Multicultural Affairs, the University Libraries, and the MLK Planning Committee hosted this gathering at the school's Kennedy Union ballroom to reflect on that November 1964 visit by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to discuss the social justice issues that continue to exist in this country a half century after his advocacy. Remarks were provided by Dr. Herbert Walker, a poet, performer and Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at the school, Dr. Ruth Thompson-Miller, an Associate Professor of Sociology in the College of Arts of Sciences, and Dr. Tom Morgan, an Associate Professor of American and African American Literature in the Department of English.

A/V: FitzGerald, Neuhardt Host Dayton Town Hall Meeting

Saturday, October 25, 2014
Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald talks to attendees at the Dayton town hall event on Thursday evening.

Although running far behind his opponent in the polls and in campaign funds, Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald stopped in Dayton on Thursday evening to a small but supportive gathering just 12 days before next month's general election. Introduced by his lieutenant governor running mate, Sharen Neuhardt, he spoke extemporaneously for approximately 50 minutes on a variety of issues to a crowd of about 70 people at the Dayton Cultural & RTA Center, just east of the main downtown area. This event was one of eight scheduled earlier this month by the campaign to counter the lack of debates between FitzGerald and his Republican opponent, the incumbent governor John Kasich.

A/V: "Eddie Munster" Visits Fairborn

Saturday, October 18, 2014
Former child actor Butch Patrick meets the first people in line for his guest appearance in Fairborn on Friday afternoon.

In an event designed to draw attention to the city's upcoming Halloween Festival, Fairborn welcomed former child actor Butch Patrick to Foy's Variety Store on Friday afternoon for a well-received guest appearance for his western Ohio fans. Patrick is best known for playing Eddie Munster, the werewolf son of Herman and Lily Munster, on the eponymously named prime-time situation comedy that ran on CBS from 1964 to 1966. After that show's run, he made guest appearances on other television series and also had roles in several Walt Disney movies. In 1971, he landed the starring role as Mark on the "psychedelic" fantasy show Lidsville that ran for two seasons on Saturday mornings through 1973. 

A/V: Kasich Visits London During "Get Out the Vote" Swing

Monday, October 6, 2014
Ohio governor John Kasich poses for a photograph with supporters at a London, Ohio "Get Out the Vote" appearance Friday afternoon.

Although enjoying significant statewide polling leads over his Democratic opponent, Ohio governor John Kasich visited three locations on Friday afternoon in a whirlwind "Get Out the Vote" offensive for his own as well as other Republican candidates on the ballot in preparation for next month's general election. His first stop was in London, Ohio where he visited the Madison County Republican Party headquarters at around 12:30pm and addressed a friendly crowd of around 80 people. About a third of those in attendance were 4th and 8th grade students from the city's St. Patrick's Elementary School and Kasich spent about 10 of the 15 minutes he reserved for remarks to talk with them directly and provide guidance to help each navigate through their young lives.

A/V: Suddes Speaks at Centerville "Election News You Can Use" Event

Friday, October 3, 2014
Ohio political columnist Thomas Suddes reads from prepared notes during the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area's "Election News You Can Use" event on Wednesday night in Centerville, Ohio.

Veteran Ohio political columnist Thomas Suddes was the featured speaker to a crowd of 75 people at the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area, or LVWGDA, “Election News You Can Use” event held Wednesday evening at Centerville’s Magsig Middle School. Ron Rollins, senior editor at the Dayton Daily News, introduced Suddes to the audience that wanted to get the journalist’s take on the upcoming statewide races as well as his historical takes on Ohio’s election process and political issues. His weekly column on Ohio Statehouse happenings appears in The Columbus Dispatch, The Plain Dealer as well as the Dayton Daily News. Suddes was recently elected into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame and serves as an assistant professor and coordinator at Ohio University’s E.W Scripps School of Journalism.

A Tiny Taste of "The Day After"

Sunday, September 28, 2014
A three-hour power outage triggered thoughts of a post-apocalyptic world (graphic courtesy of Christophe Dessaigne)

As someone who has worked in the national security and defense business, it isn't something that I dwell upon very often; however, I recently had a small glimpse into a world minus all of the things our society has grown accustomed to in the 21st century during a short power outage a week ago today. Last Sunday morning, in an event that was not forecast by severe weather or by homeland security notices, we lost electrical service in our and a neighboring subdivision. While it came at an inconvenient time (Sunday is my "laundry" day and we are well into the 2014-15 NFL regular season), its intrusion into my family's lives triggered dystopian thoughts that seem to be a lot more plausible than I care to admit.

A/V: Statewide Dem Candidates Stop in Springfield

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
From left to right, David Pepper, John Carney, Nina Turner, Tom Letson, Ed FitzGerald, Sharen Neuhardt and Connie Pillich stand outside a Transport Workers Union bus at a Tour to Restore stop in Springfield, Ohio on Tuesday afternoon.

On the final day of a five-day Tour to Restore Ohio bus tour across the state, seven of the eight Democratic Party candidates for statewide elected office stopped this afternoon at a "Get Out the Vote" event in Springfield, Ohio. In a nearly hour-long visit, Ed FitzGerald, Sharen Neuhardt, David Pepper, Nina Turner, Connie Pillich and John Carney (candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor, respectively) along with Tom Letson, one of two Democrats seeking seats on the Ohio Supreme Court, were guests of the Clark County Democratic Women's Issues Group at the United Auto Workers Local 402 on Urbana Road. According to the event announcement, members of that group were gathering at that location to write postcards to send to women voters reminding them of what's at stake in the upcoming general election. This activity coincided with National Voter Registration Day, a day where over 2,000 partner organizations across the country promote eligible voters to sign up to be eligible for the November election.

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 8 of 8)

Saturday, September 20, 2014
This is the eight installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer promised, one of the best ever in his trade becomes the subject of an odd documentary film.

8. Herblock: The Black & The White

I must admit that this one came completely out of the blue back in July when I was scrolling through my HBO GO app for my Roku streaming player. Seeing this documentary about his one-panel cartoon takes on politics, domestic issues, international affairs and social injustice takes me back to my childhood when I would view his syndicated works during his 72-year career that spanned 13 US presidents. Unfortunately, what tarnished what would have been an outstanding film for me was the odd decision of casting of an actor to play the deceased subject.

"The Sunday Rundown"

Sunday, September 14, 2014
NBC "rebooted" its 66-year old flagship Sunday talk program with its 12th host last weekend

Although it took me about 36 hours to do (thanks to a very late-night airing on MSNBC and an aging DVR in our bedroom), I finally got to watch last Sunday's much-anticipated "reboot" of NBC's Meet the Press (MTP) early Monday afternoon. The longest running show on broadcast television history (it will be celebrating its 67th anniversary in early November) has recently been mired in a ratings slump in the years following long-time host Tim Russert's death in 2008. NBC announced last month that they would be replacing host David Gregory with MSNBC's Chuck Todd and that news put the media critics into overdrive in postulating how this change would affect this flagship Sunday talk program. While not a regular viewer of the show, I must admit that I thought that I was watching a weekend edition of Todd's former gig, The Daily Rundown (TDR), instead of the legacy of Martha Roundtree, Lawrence E. Spivak and Russert which, in the short term, might be a very bold move on the network's part.

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 7 of 8)

Thursday, September 11, 2014
This is the seventh installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer promised, the passing of a conservative publishing icon with whom I actually shared a core commonality.

7. The passing of Richard Mellon Scaife:

Richard Mellon Scaife holds up a copy of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's first Sunday edition in May 1974. (file photo courtesy of Trib Total Media

During this blog's run, I have done tribute pieces for two widely respected journalists (Andy Rooney and Helen Thomas) on the occasion of their passings. While Scaife was not a content producer, his activities within the overall periphery of journalism earned him at least a mention here. The 82-year old billionaire died on July 4th of an untreatable form of cancer that he announced through his own newspaper, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on May 18th. Grand-nephew of Andrew W. Mellon--the renowned industrialist/philanthropist as well as a former US ambassador to the United Kingdom and US Treasury Secretary, he grew up in an affluent family and formally took control of the vast Mellon fortune when his mother died in 1972. A staunch supporter of conservative and libertarian causes, his personal views often crossed over into that newspaper and other journalistic ventures with which he associated himself--normally in a financial role.

BTS: The Tale of Two Rallies

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Same location...same incident...two vastly different events.

It's been a little more than a week since I drove away from Beavercreek's Fairfield Crossing shopping center parking lot and the second of two rallies that was held at its Walmart Superstore, the site of the August 5th shooting of John Crawford III by that city's police department. I made a point of attending both events because I wanted to play the part of an objective reporter but it was extremely hard to equate two things that were almost completely opposite in their scope and purpose.

A/V: The 2014 Great Wright Brothers Aero Carnival

Saturday, September 6, 2014
Two attendees stand next to life-size cutouts of Orville and Wilbur Wright at the 2014 Great Wright Brothers Aero Carnival at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park's Huffman Prairie Flying Field on Saturday afternoon.

Undeterred by threatening skies, fans of aviation, history and nature gathered on Saturday afternoon to attend the 2014 Great Wright Brothers Aero Carnival held at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park's Huffman Prairie Flying Field near Dayton, Ohio. The event, put on by the National Park Service and the 88th Air Base Wing from nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, was the fourth over the past five years intended to bring the public to that location and explore this historic site used by Orville and Wilbur Wright from 1904 through 1917 for the development and enhancement of their original Wright Flyer aircraft. Last year's carnival was cancelled due to military budget cuts due to sequestration.

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 6 of 8)

This is the sixth installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer promised, Egypt wasn't the only place where governments were cracking down on journalists and their profession.

6. Government crackdown on Myanmar journalists:

Journalists protest the conviction of Unity Weekly journalists in Yangon on July 12, 2014. (photo courtesy of Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun)

While the three Al Jazeera reporters were getting most of the headlines concerning legal crackdowns on the press, the government of Myanmar (some still refer to it as Burma, its former British colonial name) sentenced four reporters and a newspaper executive to 10-year prison terms each for "disclosing state secrets" in the now closed-down Unity Weekly because of a story they wrote about an alleged chemical weapons factory back in January (their trial started the following month and their convictions and punishments were handed down on July 10th).

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 5 of 8)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
This is the fifth installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer promised, a posthumously released, thinly veiled "tell all" novel kept media tongues wagging for the early part of the summer but it also drew new attention to a career--and a life--that ended way too soon.

5. "The Last Magazine":

With all of the books I have set aside for reading and the many boxes I have stacked up in my garage, it would take a lot of hype and buzz to get me to read one that has just been released. Michael Hastings' posthumous "novelization" of world and personal events during his time working at Newsweek in the early 2000s was one of those books. Although he was killed in an auto accident in June 2013 at the age of 33, his unfinished manuscript was found in a desk drawer and was released by his widow with little editing on June 17th to a host of critical acclaim. Coming in at 299 pages in its electronic form (352 in hard cover), it wasn't a long read but it was one that required frequent referrals to my own recollections of that time period or visits to Wikipedia for refreshers on the circumstances Hastings was retelling.

A/V: Community Displays Support for Police Officers

Sunday, August 31, 2014
Attendees gathered Sunday afternoon to show their support for the Beavercreek (Ohio) Police Department outside the city's Walmart Superstore that was the scene of a shooting on August 5th.

Despite overcast skies and a rain shower that forced many to seek shelter, approximately 150 to 200 people attended a Sunday afternoon Operation Shield BPD rally in support of the Beavercreek Police Department in an outer parking lot of the city's Walmart Superstore. This location was the same one used the previous afternoon for a rally by supporters of the family of John Crawford III who was shot in that same store on August 5th by one of two of that department's officers who responded to the 911 call.

Opinion Writing 101

Guest host--and op/ed columnist--Jonathan Capehart (far left) guides an insighful discussion about the role of opinion columns in today's news business with fellow columnists Froma Harrop, Clarence Page and Connie Schultz on MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki show yesterday morning.

I will try to keep my own comments to a minimum here but I was fortunate enough to watch an outstanding panel on the subject of opinion writing that was telecast on yesterday's Up With Steve Kornacki show on MSNBC. Guest host--and op/ed columnist for The Washington Post--Jonathan Capehart held a virtual roundtable with fellow columnists Froma Harrop, Clarence Page and Connie Schultz about the role of opinion writing in today's news landscape.

A/V: Rally Organizers Call for Release of Store Surveillance Tapes

Saturday, August 30, 2014
Several hundred people gathered on Saturday afternoon within sight of the Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart store where John Crawford III was shot and killed by a city police officer on August 5th.

On a very warm Ohio afternoon, approximately 200 to 300 people assembled in Beavercreek, Ohio to attend the Justice For John Crawford Protest and Rally in support of the family of the 21-year old Cincinnati-area man gunned down by police officers at that city's Walmart store earlier this month. Organized by the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the National Action Network, or GCCNAN, the peaceful protest featured one dozen speakers demanding Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine release surveillance video footage of that shooting that was captured by several of the store's 200 security cameras. On Friday, DeWine stated that such a release would not happen prior to any grand jury-mandated court actions because that evidence could influence potential jurors.

Soap Box: Good Deal, Eh?

One of these things does not belong with the others (but it legally can)

In a recent sign of the strange economic times we now live in, Burger King, the world's second largest hamburger fast food restaurant chain, announced this past Monday its intent to buy the Canadian restaurant and coffee shop chain Tim Hortons for $11.4 billion. The new holding company will become the third largest fast food company with over 18,000 restaurants in 100-plus countries, lagging behind only McDonald's and Yum! Brands. Once approved, 3G Capital, the company's majority stock holder, will move its corporate operations from Miami, Florida to Oakville, Ontario. While big money mergers have become almost commonplace, one significant component of this deal has transcended the confines of Wall Street to spark discussions on Main Street as well as on various social media outlets.

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 4 of 8)

Thursday, August 28, 2014
This is the fourth installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer promised, whether you remember it or not, this decade's influence on American culture is still evident today.

4. CNN's The Sixties:

Although my own recollection of this 1960-to-1970 period is primarily of its end years and from a very youthful perspective, I have been mostly entertained by this look back on this 10-year transformational period that produced so much news and nostalgia. This series actually started last November when they aired a two-hour special on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy but they premiered it in an announced 10-part episodic order on May 29th (with that earlier shown offering cut down to an hour). The final episode was supposed to air on August 7th but the scheduled end-date was postponed by one week due to the sheer volume of news due to the eruption of the current Gaza Conflict and the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in contested airspace over eastern Ukraine on July 17th. It was almost pushed back another seven days when the episode airing on August 7th was interrupted about halfway through by President Obama's announcement of US military intervention inside Iraq due to a quickly developing humanitarian crisis involving the Sunni jihadist group ISIS/ISIL. It apparently was rebroadcast in its entirety for West Coast audiences later that same night and in weekend reruns but, unfortunately, I didn't reprogram my DVR to catch that last half hour.

Buddy, Can You Spare 500 Words?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Local writers wanted...a nice headline to see in your morning newspaper!

With all of the many items that have been recently occupying my time and mental capacity, there was one thing that instantly caught my attention but took me far too long to post about it here. I was reading the Dayton Daily News on my tablet a couple weeks ago and scrolled onto the "Ideas & Voices" page, the very same one that I recently commented about on this site. In the upper right-hand corner of the displayed page were three words that immediately attracted my eye--local writers wanted! Knowing how financially strapped the newspaper industry is for content these days, I saw this as a potential opportunity to perhaps make my mark--or at least cut my teeth--as an "opinionator".  I continued reading Connie Post's submission.

Are you interested in contributing to our Ideas & Voices page?

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 3 of 8)

Monday, August 18, 2014
[NOTE: I apologize for the long break between segments but I have been doing some employment-related activities with at least two potential opportunities in the journalism field. Most of the hard work--a resume and online portfolio--has been accomplished and they are now out for review by a few trusted mentors so now I can get back to writing about what I once thought was going to be a "journo-less" summer.]

This is the third installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer promised, hard-hitting reporter, truth seeker, Curves membership. Nothing yet? How about justice hunter, philanthropist, has a Gmail account? You'll be shocked!

3. News Glance with Genevieve Vavance:

One of Roger's latest personas is news anchor Genevieve Vavance, a made-up character very much borrowed from a true-life television personality. (graphic courtesy of Fox)

- News Glance with Genevieve Vavance: after what I described in the last posting in this series, one of my few vices I will freely admit to doing is watching animated shows during the Fox television network's prime time and their re-airing on the Cartoon Network's after-hours Adult Swim channel. My favorite of the current selection has to be American Dad!, the story of the day-to-day antics of a fictional CIA agent and his immediate family (as well as a gay gray alien and a talking fish who live with them--his son-in-law, slacker/stoner Jeff Fischer, appears to have been written off near the end of this past season). For this post, I will go through the episode in-depth and then provide my own specific and generic critiques. (SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen the show, don't go any further because I do provide details in my review.)

A/V: Fairborn Siren Upgrade Program Nearly Complete

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Workers erect a new outdoor warning siren next to the existing one on Fairborn, Ohio's Black Lane last Friday afternoon.

Late Friday afternoon, Fairborn emergency preparedness officials came one step closer to finalizing a multi-year effort to improve that Ohio community's notification network with the installation of two new state-of-the-art outdoor warning sirens within the city. Erected in close proximity to existing Cold-War era omnidirectional alerting devices originally installed in the mid-1970s, the replacements' rotating high decibel outputs will provide a louder signal with a greater audible range than their predecessors. This increased signal distance will provide overlapping capabilities, where notifications from two or more physically separated units can be heard at the same time, in current fringe coverage areas around the city''s approximately 20 square mile area of responsibility. Technological advances in the newer models include battery backups and wireless communications to ensure greater reliability during adverse weather conditions.

Soap Box: Turn Out the Lights, This Race is Over

Thursday, August 7, 2014
An open letter to Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald:

Ed FitzGerald (center) meets with supporters at a Dayton campaign rally this past January.

Dear Mr. FitzGerald Ed,

Let me try to put this as delicately as I can--what in the wide, wide world of sports were you thinking? How could a former FBI agent believe that in the current age of bulk data storage and instantaneous access to public records that those potentially embarrassing issues from your past would not become known? And you thought that this would simply be ignored in a political climate where style—and its associated “political games”—trumps substance? In the hands of a wily opposition research operation, rather innocuous events could be spun so far out of proportion so quickly that even the most firmly established, textbook-perfect political campaigns would be vulnerable to such shenanigans (and as we have seen since you announced your desire to be Ohio's next governor, yours does not fall into that category).

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 2 of 8)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
This is the second installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer promised, here's a new television program that involves a familiar face from a "fake news" show:

2. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Jon Stewart, Comedy Central's potentate of puerile political punditry, unleashed upon the American television viewing public yet another fake news presenter (Stephen Colbert being the first and Larry Wilmore waiting in the wings for his January 2015 debut when Colbert moves over to replace David Letterman on CBS) who appears to be more passionate and focused than the news anchor choices on television today.  Although this show started in April, I'm including it into this "summer-y" piece because, in its short run, it has quickly become my "must see" program.

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 1 of 8)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Constantly consumed by numerous unsuccessful attempts at securing a new employer (and trying to end a 6-month long jobless stretch), I haven't had a chance to really enjoy the promise of relaxation that the summer season brings around this time every year. Since I finished my journalism program last December (and receiving my certificate the following month), this is the first one since 2011 that I do not have any schoolwork to work on so I have been occupying some of my limited "down" time with entertainment and activities related to that field. The items that I already posted here (the Clinton booksigning, the Dayton festival) might have been the only the things I considered "newsworthy" but there has been much more going on related to past, present and even fictional news.

Over the next few weeks, I will provide these observations in a chronologically ordered, multi-part series. The first installment deals below with one of a journalist's greatest fears--being jailed for simply doing your job (or, in this case, being convicted on trumped-up charges).

The "Abdicator" Returns

Sunday, July 20, 2014
Northeast Ohio native LeBron James announced on July 8th that he will bring his talents back to Cleveland for at least the next two years. (uncredited photo)

I've avoided opining about sports-related subjects here because, much like politics, saying the wrong words or professing incorrect allegiances can alienate a wide segment of your audience. However, recent news is so huge that it transcends that athletic world and touches upon economics, popular culture and quite possibly a upcoming political event.

A little background information is in order before I go on. I lost my "fanatic" standing many years ago when serving at overseas military locations in the early and mid-1980s. In the days before commercially feasible satellite television service, armed forces television audiences were at the mercy of videotaped offerings shipped in from stateside locations or tape-delayed at dispersed ground stations. At many Far East bases, the Monday Night Football program was telecast on Tuesday evenings and since the radio service had no such technical challenges with live events, you would already know the outcome. This was an improvement over not having any radio or television service and relying upon the delivery of the Stars and Stripes newspaper and its days-old results and standings to keep up on down-to-the-wire pennant chases. Due to military travel commitments, I missed two Super Bowls in the 1990s (XVII & XXIX) so even that unofficial American "holiday" no longer has a choke hold on me. In fact, I find fantasy football to be much more entertaining than some of the regular season NFL matchups seen in my local media market (Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns).

Dayton Daily News' Ideas & Voices: "Balance" is Not "Equal"

Saturday, July 12, 2014
After reviewing items over a recent 4-week period, the evidence shows that liberal bias does not exist on the paper's editorial pages and, in fact, it shows quite the opposite (perhaps due to a lack of oversight).

If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you will know that my local newspaper, The Dayton Daily News, and opinion writing/columnists have been the subjects of several of my entries during its run. So it would not come as a complete surprise to see a confluence of the two in order to answer a long-standing question I've had over the years: just how liberal is this paper? Although the graphic above foreshadows my conclusion, I would hope that you continue reading after the break for a short overview of the genesis of this marketing ploy and to see how I was able to make that determination (I also voice some strongly held opinions on my local opinion pages).

A/V: Dayton Holds Lights in Flight Independence Day Festival

Friday, July 4, 2014
Spectators on Dayton's Riverside Drive bridge take in the 2014 Lights in Flight Festival's fireworks display on Thursday evening.

Approximately 25,000 people took advantage of clear skies and cool temperatures to attend the 2014 Lights in Flight Festival at Dayton's Riverscape MetroPark on Thursday evening. Presented by the City of Dayton Department of Recreation and Youth Services, in cooperation with the Five Rivers MetroParks, the Dayton Human Relations Council, Marion’s Piazza, Miami Conservancy District and Wright State University, this one-day-early 4th of July celebration featured food, beverages and live musical entertainment prior to the fireworks show launched over the Great Miami River from nearby Deeds Point MetroPark that started promptly at 10PM.

More photos below the break:

I Probably Should've Skipped This One

Sunday, June 29, 2014
An advertisement for Mrs. Clinton's book signing event in last Sunday's Dayton Daily News.

Over the years (has it really been that long?), I have shared my adventures and milestones in exploring and practicing journalism in my local area and at a few places away from home via this blog. During that time, I have had the opportunity of covering events involving politicians, celebrities and national heroes with 2012 being my "banner year" due to Ohio's importance during the recent presidential election cycle and the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Raiders heroic exploits during World War II. I've had some remarkable successes (gaining press credentials for both a VP and POTUS campaign event) and a failure or two along the way (turned down for an Air Force One arrival and the Obama campaign kick-off event in Columbus). I chose to forgo a rather significant event in the 2012 general election campaign (the joint Romney-Ryan appearance) for which I openly regretted not making the effort to attend. It was in the spirit of that last "no-show" that I decided to try and cover a potentially significant event leading up to the upcoming 2016 presidential race--a local appearance of the presumptive Democratic nominee, former First Lady/US Senator/Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a bookstore in the greater Dayton area. Regrettably, after you read what I provide below, you will probably agree with me that this was an event where I should've just stayed home.

A More Frequently Witnessed "Historic" Event

Monday, June 23, 2014

[NOTE: this is a consolidated product--one part reporting, one part analyzing and a heap of opining for good measure--and I didn't know what label to use...I opted for none.]

Major General John Shanahan, commander of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, presents the unit guidon to Colonel Leah Lauderback, the first openly gay leader of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, during the May 28th change-of-command ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. (photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Samuel Earick)

It's an increasingly rare occasion when a person can claim to be involved in a truly historic event this far along in our civilization's history. About 400 people, including me, can now do that after witnessing what was initially thought to be just a run-of-the-mill biennial display of military continuity and tradition at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's National Museum of the United States Air Force.  On May 28th, Colonel Leah Lauderback assumed command of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center from Colonel Aaron Prupas but its historical significance was not because of her gender but due solely to the person she recently married. As it turns out, Lauderback is now the first openly gay commander of this storied intelligence organization and her spouse, Brenda, was publicly included in this ceremony just a little over two years after the Defense Department's rescinding of a policy that banned the disclosure of same-sex relations.

My Three-Day "Tweet-kend"

Saturday, May 31, 2014
My first "viral" tweet began with a bang...and ended with nary a mention.

Back in September 2012, I posted an item documenting my experiences (and frustrations) with Twitter, the 140-character or less micro-blogging platform where anybody associated with journalism is supposed to readily adopt and participate on a regular basis. In that entry, I pondered if it was a "one-way street"--where everyone has something to say but no one bothers to respond (a old Current TV video describes it as a place "where you talk to no one--and everyone"). I use my account primarily for announcing when I upload new items or if I want to promote/document something I might be seeing/experiencing at the time. The "tweet" you see above happens to be the first "viral" one I can claim and I will get around to describing its origin when I detail how my recent three-day Memorial Day "tweet-kend" played out beyond the jump below.

A/V: My First "Mainstream" Photojournalism Submission

Friday, May 23, 2014
A screen grab of the webpage hosting my first accepted photo submission (graphic courtesy of

Serendipity is defined as a "fortuitous happenstance" or a "pleasant surprise" and Wednesday's widespread flash flooding from a string of strong spring thunderstorms provided me the opportunity to "dip my toes" into the real world of digital photojournalism without any preparation or advanced notice on my part.

In Appreciation: Randi Rhodes

Sunday, May 18, 2014
Liberal radio talk show host Randi Rhodes called it a career this past week (photo courtesy of

On Friday afternoon, I had to say goodbye to a frequent visitor into my daily life for the fourth—and probably final—time over the past six years but this one was on such good terms. Liberal talk radio host Randi Rhodes, deciding that it was time for her to walk away from her 30-year profession, finished up her last three-hour program on Premiere Networks just before 6PM—normally referred to as “beer o’clock” by her and other on-air talent. She made the announcement to her listeners and fans back in April, stating that it was her decision to leave just six months after facing a termination situation before securing support from the corporate syndicator/producer of The Randi Rhodes Show. The other two times prior to that November 2013 concession happened back in 2008 and 2009 when she left Air America Radio and Nova M Radio, respectively, under questionable contractual-related circumstances.

A Missed Opportunity

Monday, May 5, 2014
A recent obituary made me reflect upon a rainy Saturday afternoon at Urbana, Ohio's Grimes Field two years ago and the stories I never got around to writing.

Due to the focus of this blog, I rarely share very intimate details of my life for everyone to share; however, I will make a small exception for the purpose of this post. For the past 4-plus months, I have not held a position in my current profession and I have been actively seeking related employment of any sort since the end of January. A discovery yesterday morning during what has become my everyday routine painfully highlighted the greatest shortcoming in my pursuit of a full-time journalistic career--following through on what I start.

Soap Box: Do People Understand What Tyranny Actually Is?

Saturday, April 19, 2014
Jim Lardy, a member of the West Mountain Rangers militia group, has become just the latest example of the modern misunderstanding of the concept of tyranny. (photo courtesy of Ben Botkin/The Las Vegas Review-Journal)

"We need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government."- Jim Lardy, Montana militia member

With the almost clock-like precision of a well-built timepiece, news consumers in this country have been subjected to yet another round of for-the-camera ideological melodrama revolving around the charges of tyrannical behavior by our elected leaders and the levers of powers that they wield while in their respective offices. I, for one, am getting a little sick and tired of seeing that term being bastardized by people too lazy to look up its actual meaning.

A/V: 2014 SPJ Region 4 Conference -- Columbus, Ohio

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Columbus was the host location for the 2014 SPJ Region 4 Spring Conference.

The Central Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hosted the Region 4 Spring Conference this past weekend in Columbus, Ohio on the campus of The Ohio State University. Members from the Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania areas attended this annual event, billed as a professional, mentoring and networking event for journalists, students, educators and communicators to hear from industry experts about a wide range of journalism issues. In addition to those activities, an awards luncheon to honor the best of collegiate journalism in the region was held between the morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday.

A/V: Xenia Marks 40th Anniversary of Deadly Tornado

Thursday, April 3, 2014
A saved copy of a first grade student's recollection of the deadly tornado that struck Xenia, Ohio in April 1974.

On a rainy and overcast afternoon, more than 150 members of the Xenia community gathered to remember friends, neighbors and loved ones who lost their lives 40 years ago when a powerful tornado slammed through the heart of their town. Originally scheduled to be held at the 1974 Tornado Memorial located outside City Hall, it was moved indoors to the Hudson Meeting Room of the nearby Xenia Community Library due to the inclement weather.

A/V: Kaku Closes WSU's Presidential Lecture Series

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku speaking to the Wright State University's Ervin J. Nutter Center audience on Wednesday night.

FAIRBORN, OH -- In the final scheduled event of the Wright State University 2013-14 Presidential Lecture series, renowned theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku provided his personal observations on today's scientific trends and discoveries at the school's Ervin J. Nutter Center on Wednesday evening. After welcoming remarks by Dr. Susan Carrafiello, director of the university's honors program and an introduction by Dr. David R. Hopkins, president of the university, Dr. Kaku delivered an 80-minute presentation entitled "The Future of the Mind" to an assembled audience estimated at over 1,000 people. This visit was on the heels of a speaking and book signing event held on Tuesday in Kansas City, Missouri.

Soap Box: So It WAS Really About Oil

Monday, March 17, 2014
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow recently hosted a documentary identifying the primary reason why the United States went to war against Iraq

Those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it. -- George Santayana

In our 21st century information-saturated society, it has become much harder for people to keep track of the things happening in their personal lives or the world in general. A 2009 book about building excellent healthcare teams cites research that puts the average adult's maximum attention span at about 20 minutes and can be as short as eight seconds if continuous attention is required. The W.W. Grainger Company is currently airing a radio spot that highlights the marketing concept of effective frequency--the number of times a person needs to hear a message before purchasing but before they start to tune it out. That advertisement, as well as the online puts that number at three and that is, coincidentally, the number of times MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has tried to bring the true story of America's 2003 invasion of Iraq into the nation's collective consciousness after the recent airing of her cable documentary, Why We Did It.

My Media Vacation (Part 2 of 3): Philadelphia

Saturday, March 8, 2014
[NOTE: this is the second of a three-part series I started last October to document a vacation trip I made with my son back in August 2012 to the East Coast. I am hoping to have the final installment uploaded by the end of this month.]

Independence Hall is seen through the window of Liberty Bell Center at Philadelphia's Independence National Historic Park.

After our half-day extended stay in the New York City area, it was time to head down the Jersey Turnpike to our next destination, Philadelphia. Widely known as "The City of Brotherly Love", it is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the fifth largest in the entire country (trailing only New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston). Also recognized as America's "Cradle of Liberty" because of its vital role during the Revolutionary War, it subsequently served as our nation's capital from 1790 until the White House and Capitol Building were completed in 1800.

Soap Box: Realpolitik and "Mom" Jeans

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
 We learned this week that some people actually base their opinions of world leader's governing skills based primarily upon their choices--or lack--of clothing.

Unless deliberately shunning newspapers, cable news or the internet since last weekend, you should already know that Russian president Vladimir Putin moved elements of his nation’s military forces to the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine, a neighboring country and former Soviet republic. This was reportedly in response to a request from Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukraine’s fugitive president—and Putin lackey—who  was ousted in a popular revolution in late February and took up sanctuary in Russia to escape vindictive retribution in his homeland by the people who took over for him.

Soap Box: MSNBC, We Need to Take a Break

Sunday, March 2, 2014


I'm not quite sure just how to put this but...I think we need to take a break.  Over the years, you have been my primary source for news and opinion but I believe we may have recently violated some boundaries and that needs to be addressed.

If you look back at my blog posts and Twitter feed, you will see that I have referenced you, your programs and your personalities on a very frequent basis.  I have framed much of my own perspective concerning this country's political landscape based upon the guests you put on the air and the positions that the channels has espoused since the days that Keith Olbermann anchored your evening block of shows.  Although I followed him over to Current TV for his short-lived stint, I still considered you my "go to" channel on breaking news and political information (your former slogan "The Place for Politics" was a perfect fit for my level of consumption).

A/V: "How I Got Over" Exhibit at Wilberforce Museum

Thursday, February 20, 2014
The "How I Got Over" exhibit's three core themes--spirituality, protest and celebration--prominently stand outside the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center's John E. Fleming Gallery.

After nearly a 30-month long facility rehabilitation, the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center reopened in late January to the general public and is currently featuring an exhibit of mixed media art in the John E. Fleming Gallery.  Entitled "How I Got Over", this 73-item display of paintings, sculpture, carvings and fabric from 48 different artists was inspired by renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson's inspired vocal performance of that song at the August 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, delivered immediately before the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.  The works of four artists--Richmond Barthé, Elizabeth Catlett, Hayward Dinsmore, and Clementine Hunter--are featured among the 5,200 square feet of available exhibition space.

BTS: Air Force One Arrival and 2012 Campaign Wrap-Up

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
[NOTE: this is a long-delayed follow-up for the last Obama event I covered back in October 2012 and a "capstone" for my political reporting for that most recently completed presidential election cycle. Because of the 16-month gap, I am relying upon emails and photos to help dredge up the more intangible recollections of my experiences.]

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama speaking to a crowd at Dayton, Ohio's Triangle Park at a joint rally on October 23, 2012. (photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

Dayton was extremely fortunate to have both major party tickets bring their nominees to the "Gem City" for joint appearances in the later stages of the general election campaign.  I took an unfortunate pass on the Romney/Ryan dual event at the Dayton International Airport in late September.  That same month, I did cover a Biden rally right down the road from me at Wright State University and an Obama "grassroots event" held in Cincinnati's Eden Park but I was surprised when I received an email on October 19th from the Obama 2012 campaign about a joint appearance at the city's historic Triangle Park on the following Tuesday.  Other than at the national convention in Charlotte, neither candidate had appeared at the same venue at the same time so this was a ready indicator of the importance of Ohio to their reelection chances.

A/V: Black Aviation History On Display at Air Force's Museum

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
A sign for Red Tails, Silver Wings, a visiting display of Tuskegee Airmen-inspired paintings by artist Chris Hopkins, sits outside the Hall of Honor at the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.

February marks our nation's observance of Black History Month, a period set aside annually to reflect upon the contributions made by African-Americans to the country's endeavors during its 237-year existence. Many communities across the nation hold celebrations to highlight the exploits of local individuals or organizations and Dayton's own National Museum of the United States Air Force is currently hosting an art display honoring that group's role in US aviation history through the end of the month.

The "Tsunami" of SOTU Coverage

Thursday, January 30, 2014
Probably the only vantage point that wasn't shown on a wide variety of viewing options--from the floor of the US House of Representatives. (photo courtesy of

Due to guidance provided within Article II and the Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution (thanks to The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd for bringing that last item to light during the trivia question segment of Wednesday's show), political junkies like me love the latter part of January (or as late as mid-February as was the case in 2013) because that means that the annual President's State of the Union Address is right around the corner.  In a tradition that dates back to George Washington's address to Congress in 1790, the head of the executive branch provides the legislative branch with an update on the conditions within the nation for the upcoming year.  While switched to a written communication by Thomas Jefferson in 1801, the in-person version was resurrected by Woodrow Wilson in 1913 and he expanded it to include a blueprint for the administration's legislative agenda.  In 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt helped brand this speech as the "State of the Union" and establish a permanent tradition for presidential presentations on Capitol Hill (1946 was the last year that a president--Harry Truman--did not appear in-person).

Soap Box: Bus Stops and MLK Day

Friday, January 24, 2014
A Dayton Regional Transit Authority bus stops along Pentagon Boulevard in Beavercreek, Ohio.

Monday was the 29th observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, our nation's most recently established federal holiday and an occasion to commemorate the accomplishments and enduring legacy of the late civil rights leader.  As the "newbie", it does not have the universal recognition of the "first tier" holidays like those near the end of the year (Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day) or the summer observances (Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day).  While supposedly equally important, the remainder of the ten official federal holidays (MLK Day, Washington's Birthday, Columbus Day and Veterans Day) linger in a "limbo" status in corporate and non-federal circles.  Companies that I have worked for in the past covered them with a "floating holiday" policy that allowed employees to decide which of these to take off  (or to substitute for another with more personal connections to them--i.e. a cultural or religious day).  That inconsistency was observed in my town with the military base and schools being closed but garbage/recycling collection continuing as normally scheduled.

A/V: Democrat Duo Debuts in Dayton

Sunday, January 19, 2014
Ed FitzGerald and Sharen Neuhardt (center left to right, respectively), Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, wave to supporters at the conclusion of their Dayton, Ohio rally on Saturday afternoon.

Just one day after making the announcement, Cuyahoga County Executive and current Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald formally introduced Dayton-area attorney Sharen Neuhardt as his gubernatorial running mate in front of approximately 150 enthusiastic supporters at that city's Cultural and RTA Transfer Center on Saturday afternoon.  Each were warmly welcomed by recently elected Democratic mayor Nan Whaley and both took turns attacking the policies of incumbent Republican governor John Kasich during the nearly three-quarter hour event.

Morning News Review - 'CBS This Morning'

Saturday, January 18, 2014
[NOTE: this is the third--and sadly last--of an originally anticipated five-part series critiquing morning news offerings from US broadcast and cable news providers that I started back in June 2012.  Like the others, I will provide my take on the composition, the hosts, the 'aesthetics', and any overt/covert 'messaging' that might be present and meant to attract your attention at the breakfast table.]

SHOWCBS This Morning
DATE/TIMES:  7 January 2014/0700-0730
LOCATION: CBS Broadcast Center, New York, NY
HOSTS: Charlie Rose (co-host), Norah O'Donnell (co-host), Gayle King (co-host)
CORRESPONDENTS: Dean Reynolds (Chicago, IL), Rebekka Schramm (affiliate/Atlanta, GA), Elaine Quijano (LaGuardia International Airport, NY), Megan Glaros (affiliate/Chicago, IL), John Blackstone (San Francisco, CA), Major Garrett (White House), Elizabeth Palmer (Amman, Jordan)

FLOW:  The show started promptly at 7AM with a quick three-toned graphic-assisted intro followed by strings/horns playing through the anchor's greetings and a zoom-in to the center of the studio.  Charlie Rose started off the top news items with mentioning the record Arctic blast going through the mid-sections (and approaching the eastern regions) of the country.  Norah O'Donnell brought up the BCS championship football game played the previous evening and also provided a "teaser" for a segment on the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas that would be aired later in the two-hour broadcast.